Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wasting Time and Giving Myself an Asthma Attack

I've been pretty disciplined on the writing front lately, but today I spent a lot of time doing stupid stuff. And, since procrastination is such a big part of the writing process, I will share my wheezing laughter with you.

For those of you who have not seen this yet, this is from a site called Damn You, Auto Correct! and it's amazing.  I've had some texting typos. The worst was when I told my friend that my daughter wanted a Doodle Bear thingy for her birthday, but my phone corrected it to a Doodle Bear thong. Lily, thankfully, did not get a thong for her seventh birthday.  Of course some of the words that autocorrect comes up with are pretty crazy. I don't think my phone would automatically go to 'necrophilia.' I think text history is a factor in these things.

Another site I spent too much time on Passive Aggressive Notes. These are amazing. A good place to procrastinate.

Nasty Cute is another favorite. You do have to be in the right sort of mood. The premise is that they are the real thoughts of the adorable animals in the picture.
The text that goes along with the pic below is as follows:


Jeff - you’re not supposed to be in here, you don’t want to see this. We agreed when you moved in: when I hire a lady for the evening, YOU DO NOT ENTER MY ROOM. Now turn around and close the door and forget you ever saw this.”

I will always recommend any of the Hyperbole and a Half blogs, but they do take a time commitment to go through. Because of this my husband has never read any of them. Allie Brosch is a GENIUS! I look forward to seeing her finished book. I have even used (modified) her Alot post in class.

By and by, this is the most labor intensive blog post I think I have ever done. Very little thought, but a lot of images -- and right now my computer/blogger is being persnickety about downloading the jpgs.

Cake Wrecks is also worth a time investment. Some amazing stuff. I enjoy this way better than the awesome stuff on Cake Boss.

And now my desktop is cluttered with saved jpgs of varying names. Instead of cleaning up, I'll leave them there for my Mom to find when she uses my computer on Wednesday. File names include, but are not limited to:
  • jesus coke.jpg 
  • strangle cat.jpg
  • jerk-dad.jpg
  • 3thbdayboyboobs
  • monkeypoonastycute.jpg
  • analblaster.jpg.  
I think she'll enjoy seeing those up there. I wonder if she'll click on them?

And, no, I haven't been drinking. I probably am a little oxygen deprived from all the laughter though. I will go get my inhaler after I sign off.

For your viewing enjoyment, here's analblaster.jpg from Damn You, Auto Correct! Happy procrastinating!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sometimes I’m Really Smart….

But most of the time I’m an idiot. I have a very high IQ, but you would never think that if you met me. It’s not lack of brains that causes this, but lack of awareness of time and space. I’ve always been this way. I have a very active imagination and can spend a lot of time there – and I don’t always have control of when my mind chooses to wander.

Got to Hyperbole and a Half to read and LOVE the blog post including the simple dog featured left.  I relate to that dog more than I would like.

I must have driven my teachers insane. I frequently didn’t do assignments because I wasn’t aware the assignments existed. I didn’t care all that much about the grades (having an ego a mile wide about my own abilities and not needing to be defined by a letter grade) so I was difficult to get through to. Then, every once in a while, I’d knock my teacher’s and fellow student’s socks off by saying something on topic AND brilliant. So I was in honors classes, but was always in a non-drug induced haze (I was a really good kid, all in all). If I was a high school student today, I would probably be medicated for ADD. Then, I was just in la-la land.

Coffee doesn't actually make me energetic.
 And I still am. Today I put the water in the coffee pot and added the beans and turned it on. When I got light brown hot water, I realized I hadn’t put the beans through the grinder where they'd get ground then pour themselves into the filter part. In the past, I’ve put in water and no grounds, grounds but no water, and water and grounds, but didn’t put the top back on the pot so the water ended up pooling in the grounds filter and spilling gritty hot water everywhere. I do have a good understanding of how to operate my coffee maker – but I still am not always entirely present because my mind is very busy.

I drive myself crazy. I know I drive other people crazy – I just don’t realize it at the time it’s happening.

The good news about my idiosyncrasies is that they provide me with a good understanding of students who function well below their potential. It also has led to some good writing. I have learned that I always need to be doing something or I will drift off. I’ve done some awesome writing during staff meetings – and that writing has kept me on task and actively listening. I have a staff meeting later today and anticipate finishing my final scene in Courtly Abandon.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my coffee is ready (so says the beeper). I will find out what happens when you put hot, wet beans into the grinder.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Personal Style Resolution

A good friend of mine just got a sewing machine and asked for a quick tutorial. Loading the bobbin, finishing off a seam, etc... She took to it like crazy, jumping headfirst into projects. I know that within no time she will have a completely new wardrobe. She doesn't do things by half. No sir. It's really quite impressive.

I found this when I searched for "sexy hippie."
On that, why can't I make my own clothes? I make costumes, but not day wear... and why not? I have ideas and I have the necessary skills? Plus, I'm in that in between size limbo. Too busty for regular cut clothes, too slim for plus size. I should just do it.

So here is a non-writing related new year's resolution: I will design and make myself at least 2 wearable outfits. My design style is tailored bohemian with a historical influence. I'm part yuppie, part hippie, but all feminine. Should be fun.

By the way, the picture featured above is nothing like my style, but it was too amazing not to use. I do believe that pants should cover your underwear and that underwear should cover your no-no bits. I bet having this pic will get me tons of unrelated hits.

What are you planning for this year that is NOT related to your writing and publishing goals?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quality Control Rant

Self publishing has opened doors for writers, no question. It has also made the shopper's job that much more a research project than a leisurely browsing of titles.

When I buy a book from Avon, I can almost promise I'll enjoy the read. When I download a $0.99 cent ebook from an indie publisher, I can almost promise that there will be some major format/typo problems that will push me right out of the story. There will also be those side tracking bits than an editor would have asked the writer to cut because they're irrelevant. There will be word repetition to a point that my eyes find that word on the page before reading the first sentence. This is not an absolute, but it has happened more often than not. 

You really can't trust 5 star customer reviews because they  start out as all from the author and his/her friends. I downloaded a 5 star book once that turned out to be a sad retelling of Twilight that sounded like a teenager wrote it. When I gave it an honest review, there was an immediate rebuttal giving another 5 star rating. Now buying an ebook involves way too much thought.

I love to lose myself in a book. Life is crazy and I really cherish moments of escape. I hate it when reading something I paid for becomes an automatic critique/editing session (hard to turn the writer off). I am not escaping when the book I looked forward too turns out to be historical only in that women wore dresses of some sort or McDonald's is misspelled.

I see more stringent categorizing in the future for self published books, but I worry that they will be based on who paid for a certain service or level of marketing and who did not rather than what books are well written.

When I think of the excessive back story, horrible cliches, genre inconsistency, and history-teacheresque aspects of my first book and my certainty that it was a masterpiece I worry over newbie writers who just churn out their whatever and sell it. There's no more learning curve for them to help them advance as writers. Write. Publish. Done. Rejection and research has made me a much better writer today than I was when I started. If I had just self published then, I would have been crushed by poor reviews and probably given up.

It's unfortunate that experienced writers who know their craft and opted to go indie rather than jump through hoops for a publisher or losing $ to an agent are lumped in with all the crap out there.

What can be done to protect the ebook buyer from the ebook saturation of bad books?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When Posting in a Forum, Stay on Topic (alternative title) I Was Just Cyber Bullied

Today I decided to get involved in the community. You know, get out in the virtual world. Participate. Might lead to more blog followers, or just name recognition, or nothing at all and just be fun. Whatever.

I found and joined in on a forum. It started out great. People made witty comments about some of the cliches and/or just bad writing that can occur in romance. What I loved most about the thread is that all contributers were romance readers. Romance was not being mocked maliciously, but playfully, by the people who loved it.

Anyhoo, I posted and selected the box to follow the thread. Every post that came after mine was about completely unrelated topics. I went back to Amazon to look at the thread. For pages before my post, the discussion was about cancer. I had made the mistake of not reading all 190+ pages and not noticed when the thread was dropped. Then someone posted asking what had happened to the original thread. I responded that I was thinking the same thing, and just found myself clicking "No" for the question of  "Do you think this post adds to the discussion?" Well, no, it did not. Completely valid on my part.

This bothered some people, apparently. They joined up to mock me -- the person with comments that were on point. I am now ignoring several people. I also stopped following the thread. I'm sure my comments have had "No" clicked on them. It's just one more of those things that really is not important enough to waste energy thinking about, but is really annoying. What's worse is that they got what they wanted - they drove me out. What should have happened is the people who were using the forum as a chat room should have stopped posting and moved to a more appropriate venue to talk about movies, McDonalds, and hospice care.

This was a mild case of cyber bullying simply because I backed out so quickly. It still leaves me feeling icky and not interested in going back to Amazon (which sucks because I just got a Kindle).
Honestly, now I do not feel inclined to participate in forums on Amazon. I deal with disrespectful and rude people all day -- I don't need to do that in my leisure time as well.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sexiest Man EVER

Alright, Sebastian Bonnington may have just topped V'lane. Every thing he does, says, breathes, is hot (in the way that's spelled HAWT). Craziness Eloisa James. And to think I thought you had outdone yourself with Villiers (One of my favorite movies and books is Dangerous Liaisons, and the Valmont sexiness that comes from John Malcovich was just amplified in Villiers), but Bonnington wins. I can't find the right image to do him justice, partly because some of his allure is in his voice (the voice I imagine at least) and physical presence.

Who is your favorite romantic male lead in (in the media of your choice)?

Just for fun, here's a hot guy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

How Irish Dancing is Like Writing a Book

I started my eldest daughter, Lily, in Irish dancing two years ago. It was fun. She was a happy five year old with a short attention span but able to hear the beat. She currently knows the Reel, Light Jig, Single Jig, and Slip Jig -- all soft shoe.
A solo dress - something novice/prizewinners can wear.

In Irish you progress in levels through competition in a Feis (pronounced feh-sh or fay-sh depending who's talking). She started as pre-beginner in three dances and Beginner 1 in one dance. Next Feis she will compete in Beginner 1 in all four plus any additional dances she will learn (next comes hard shoe). Depending on her place, she may progress to Beginner 2 in any or all of the dances. Then comes Novice, Prizewinner, and then I lose track. She has to win at each dance in each level.  It is possible to be a Novice in the Reel and Light Jig but still a Beginner 2 in the Single Jig -- it all depends on the dancer ability (and the ability of the dancers she is competing against.)

With the progressions of  levels come the costumes. Currently she has to wear a simple school uniform, soft shoes, red bloomers, and Irish socks. When I bought the Irish socks, I chose not to buy the $12 sock glue. The saleswoman was horrified until I told her it was Lily's first Feis. Then it became acceptable so long as I knew it would be required later.

Really? Sock glue? Required? What did I sign up for? I thought my little girl was just going to hop around and be cute. NOPE. She is now registered among the other OCD Irishophiles (because you must be in order to actually enjoy all this) in America and that includes buy in to all the random little regulations. Apparently I drank the kool aid, but under the impression it was Crystal Light. Now I'm screwed.

If Lily continues to love this (which I support), I'm looking at years of competitions, costumes, travel/hotels, and random little expenses like bejeweled shoe buckles, under arm guard, hair pieces, and self tanner (sooooo many orange legged girls).

How is this like writing? It starts out innocent and sweet. You have a story to tell. You sit and type and eventually have a book. YAY FOR YOU! This is like Lily's dance classes. It was an investment of time and energy, but ultimately harmless and gave a feel good sense of accomplishment.

Then you decide to take your show on the road. Query letters seem so simple at first, but they're not. Each agent has their specific requirements. Different publishers require different word counts for your genre. AND that's if you wrote to genre specifications in the first place. If you didn't, you better get your but in gear and research, edit, and revise. Your gentle spirited book has become and aggressive machine competing against the millions of other submissions the agents and publishers get every day. Who knows what will make the difference, catch the attention and get you that big break. It would be foolish not to try everything. You should blog, tweet, participate in competitions, get your name out there and become a recognized member of the writing community. You are no longer a solitary writer pecking away at your keyboard. You are playing in the big leagues with heavy hitters. You can persevere and just keep plugging until you rise tier by tier, or you can choose to let it crush your spirit.

The St. Patrick's season is coming upon us. Lily is skilled enough to participate in some of the performances, and she will want to so I'll make it happen. I actually look forward to the crazy dress (because I can make it - I have the skills), but do not look forward to the scheduling, traveling, hotels, and necessity of sock glue.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year, A New Me... Again

Every year I greet the New Year with so much optimism thinking of all the opportunities, all the time just spread out ahead of me.This year is no different. Yeah, I did not meet my 2011 New Year's resolution but oh well. It was a crazy year with a lot of changes for me. One identity crisis later I calmly, soberly, greet 2012.

I have been made aware that this is not my first personality shift by my current project, creating an iTunes library (I have finally joined the iPod club). I am currently 935 songs in and I'm not downloading every song from every CD. I have learned that my husband and I had have a diverse selection of music spanning our lives, some of which I can see no desire to ever listen to again. Yes, I did download several songs from Queensrych's Empire, but I just didn't bother with Skid Row. I downloaded all of The Little Mermaid soundtrack, a CD my parents bought me when the movie first came out, but I don't even remember the Stone Roses (but maybe should reintroduce myself) and just picked a couple songs from Tool and Alice and Chains. I guess my tastes have changed. I guess this is not the first identity crisis of my life, if you use my CD library as a timeline, I look pretty schizophrenic.

What about my writing? Well I've branched off onto some different projects, but I'm still enjoying my Elizabethan romps. After this book, however, I will write my contemporary paranormal. This is really just in the interests of getting an agent/published. If the market is not biting at my Elizabethan historical, maybe it is time to throw some different bait.

Are you the same person you were last New Year?

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